Feb. 26, 2010
TWO INDICTED FOR DISTRIBUTING COUNTERFEIT PHARMACEUTICALS
(HOUSTON) – A federal grand jury in Houston has indicted a Pennsylvania man and a foreign national in separate cases for distributing counterfeit pharmaceuticals, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today. Both indictments were returned on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2010.
In the first case, Edward Webb, 42, a resident of Allentown, Pa., was indicted for his role in scheme to import from China and distribute in the United States counterfeit pharmaceutical drugs. According to the allegations in the six-count indictment, the pharmaceuticals and the packaging containing the pharmaceuticals bore trademarks which represented that they were authentic. Webb is charged with conspiracy to traffic and trafficking in counterfeit pharmaceuticals beginning in 2008 and continuing through September 2009 and substantive counts of misbranding of drugs, counterfeiting drugs and trafficking in counterfeit goods.
According to allegations in the indictment, Webb used a web address to discuss the importation and distribution of counterfeit pharmaceuticals such as Viagra, Cialis, Levitra and Lipitor. Viagra and Lipitor are pharmaceutical drugs manufactured by Pfizer Pharmaceuticals. Cialis is a pharmaceutical drug manufactured by Eli Lilly Company and Levitra is manufactured by Bayer Pharmaceuticals. Viagra, Cialis and Levitra are considered lifestyle pharmaceutical drugs used to treat erectile dysfunction. Lipitor is used to treat high blood pressure and lower cholesterol. The indictment alleges that these companies were the legitimate trademark holders of Viagra, Cialis, Levitra and Lipitor and did not authorized Webb and others to manufacture and distribute their products. Webb is accused of causing pharmaceutical drugs originating from China to be placed in interstate commerce and delivered in Houston. The counterfeit pharmaceuticals are valued at more than $350,000. A summons directing Webb to appear in federal court in Houston for arraignment is expected to issue in the near future.
Kum Leung Chow, also known as Lawrence Chow, 59, a citizen of Hong Kong, is charged in a separate and unrelated case for his role in a scheme to manufacture and import into the United States and distribute counterfeit pharmaceutical drugs. The eight-count indictment charges Chow with conspiracy to traffic and trafficking in counterfeit pharmaceuticals beginning in January 2009 and continuing through Jan. 27, 2010, and substantive counts of misbranding of drugs, counterfeiting drugs and trafficking in counterfeit goods. Chow allegedly used several e-mail addresses to discuss the importation and distribution of counterfeit pharmaceuticals such as Viagra, Cialis as well as counterfeit Marlboro cigarettes. Chow, who - according to the indictment - was not authorized by the legitimate trademark holders to manufacture or distribute their products, is accused of causing the pharmaceutical drugs and counterfeit cigarettes to be placed in interstate commerce from China and Hong Kong to be delivered in Houston. The counterfeit Viagra and Cialis pills are valued at more than $100,000. Chow was arrested on Jan. 27, 2010, upon his arrival at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York following an international flight from Hong Kong. He is next expected to appear in court in the near future for arraignment.
The offenses charged against both men carry a potential sentence, upon conviction, of up to 10 years in prison without parole, a $2 million and at least three years supervised release.
The investigation leading to the charged in both cases was conducted by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Food and Drug Administration - Office of Criminal Investigations. Assistant United States Attorney Samuel Louis is prosecuting both cases.
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